Chester blocks student flats but approves over-55s scheme

Social landlord Arena Housing has been given permission to build 131 apartments in Chester, but plans for student flats in the city have been blocked.

The accommodation, for people over 55, will be built in two buildings, ranging in size from two to four storeys, on a council-owned car park off Wroxham Drive which includes parking from Northgate Arena Leisure Centre.

Three resident objected to the scheme on the grounds it was too big for the area and could cause parking problems.

Ward councillor Tom Parry told Cheshire West and Chester's planning committee: "Extra Care Housing provides a lot of older people with new homes and access to care as they need it, providing safe and sociable environments and also providing community facilities for the wider benefit in the local area."

But proposals from Liverpool's George Street Projects to turn an old school building in George St into flats for 85 students were rejected.

The scheme was recommended for approval but it was voted down by councillors who said it was contrary to the Chester District Local Plan and would have a detrimental impact on nearby residents.

Cllr Parry said: "I don't think that student accommodation is right for this site. I am sure that you will recall Watkin Jones changed their plans for student accommodation on a site just yards up the road to residential, judging that student accommodation was not appropriate.

"I would also like to remind members that the council resolved to facilitate a strategic plan for the development of student accommodation, particularly in Chester. I don't believe that to grant permission for this would support that aim but indeed would further the 'pepper potting' effect of student accommodation."

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